Economic Profit versus Environmental Safety
In today’s industrialized society, scientists are starting to recognize the serious environmental hazards of the near future. This life threatening problem is the definite result of industrial by-products continuously being released into the environment. Consequently, a major issue has resulted between manufacturers for economic profit and naturalists for environmental safety.
To counteract this environmental damage, several specific actions must be taken. The first action necessary to start helping the environment is establishing governmental laws to regulate all unsafe ecological wastes. The second item that needs to be addressed is strongly supporting scientific research to discover more efficient and self-sufficient methods to use valuable and limited natural resources and to search for new ones. Unfortunately, it will take years, if not decades, of plundering and destroying to force governments to arbitrate between the industrialists and environmentalists.
Accordingly, every government around the world is slowly realizing that they are becoming the unlikely arbitrators between the two opposing sides. Unfortunately, governments support “big business” policies more than the environmental safety for several reasons. One of these reasons is that government officials and their friends and families tend to be very wealthy. They already own a considerable share of businesses or are entrepreneurs and businessmen themselves. Hence, these officeholders have personal interest in allowing factories to do whatever earns them the most profit. Another obvious reason for governmental bias is that some non-democratic governments have complete or almost complete control over all economic enterprises, and their political survival depends on making money. The final factor of biased governments, especially in the United States of America, is the extensive lobbying efforts by industrialists and corporations.
These entrepreneurs believe that there should not be constraints on production, because “… economic development invariably happens at the expense of some part of the environment, particularly when natural resources are involved” (Doohan 18). Therefore, it is impossible to prevent the inevitable continued devastation of the Earth; and oppositely, some economists bitterly believe that environmental concern has considerably harmed businesses all over the world (Weiner 38). However, they all agree on the need for better methods of manufacturing to slow damage to the environment.
But contradicting logical reasoning and strong loyalty of government officials, some officeholders recently started to set limits and sometimes complete restrictions on the amount of certain toxic waste released by factories. This phenomenon has squelched once unified political parties; consequently confusing the politics of entire nations, so that almost each government and political party is somewhat divided with regards to the environment. As a result, governments tend to have multiple-sided policies, because they have both the moral obligations for sustaining the safety of their environment and the civil duties of upholding the economy through industrial competition. Henceforth, it could be said that governments around the world are only now attempting to stabilize the delicate balance between economic profit and environmental safety; but because of personal economic interests and loyalty, government officials tend to have biased judgments and policies.
The second necessary action needed to help preserve the environment is completely dependent on scientists, mostly chemists and physicists. The increased importance of scientists is necessary for several reasons. First, natural resources around the world are declining; therefore, new alternative resources must be found. Second, only through science can mankind discover more efficient methods of using the valuable and limited resources of the Earth. Third and finally, more recycling and self-sustaining methods are needed to indefinitely prolong the usage of all resources to eventually stop resource depletion. Therefore, only through science can scientists hope to solve the world’s conflicting problems of needed more resources and helping the environment. Unfortunately, governments and institutions need to spend much more money on research.
“For several decades now, the environmental movement has gathered momentum,” first within the educated elites of scientists and now throughout most of the populace of the planet (Rambaut 25). As a result, these environmentalists have become more accepted in modern society and are presently attempting to get several ecological policies passed through many governments. The first of these policies is to rightfully blame profit-seeking industrialists for not realizing soon enough the blight that they are placing on civilization. The second policy consists of making entrepreneurs, who are raping and plundering our planet, pay for the damages that they are doing. Unfortunately, it is mostly impossible to repair the environment solely with money. Therefore, the third environmental policy is to use this money for research to understand the “ecological consequences” of factories, in developing methods of protecting the environment and for finding alternative self-sustaining industrial resources (Ritchie 15). But since factories product energy and other desperately needed products, some environmentalists believe that there will never be an end to the environmental destruction caused by industries. Even some of these corporate owners are now starting to side with environmentalists too. Therefore, the inevitable goals of environmentalists will be the same as entrepreneurs, except environmentalists want to use the money of entrepreneurs to finance research.
Both the environmental and economical worlds predict a disastrous future (Doohan 19). Even though the governments, the industrialists, and the environmentalists each have their own valid viewpoints to explain their actions; they must unite to “… make trade and the environment mutually supportive” (Doohan 18).
Or as ex-President Nixon stated, “We are all advanced societies, sharing the benefits and the gathering torments of a rapidly advancing industrial technology. The industrial nations share no challenge more urgent, than that of bringing 20th century man and his environment to terms with one another—of making the world fit for man, and helping man learn how to remain in harmony with his rapidly changing world (Rambaut 27).
Some philosophers and scientists consider this situation as mankind’s greatest test. That is to see if humanity can overcome its greed for power and wealth for survival as a species and planet. But no matter what, it must be dealt with immediately.
In brief, what the past generations called an economic gift for securing their future, the present generation calls an environmental disaster without a future.
by Phil B.
- Dohan, John. “Recession: How Deep?” World Link. March/April 1991: 10-12.
- Rambaut, Paul C. “Environmental Challenges: The Role of Nato”. NATO Review. April 1992: 24-27.
- Ritchie, Mark. “The Green Lobby Raises a Red Flag on Agreement”. WorldPaper. November 1991: 15.
- Weiner, Edith, and Arnold Brown. “Exonimics”. Futurists. July/August 1990: 36-39.